Teachers and students across the country have been out of class for over a month. The hot, sticky days of July are upon us. Many have planned extended vacations or have taken these days to spend with their children. This year, I have forgone any extended trips— not out of choice but out of necessity.
As I sit here on my back porch listening to the sounds of the neighborhood (as I often do), I feel something is amiss. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have so many things whirling through my head— so much to say with far fewer to listen to it or it’s my desire to be constantly on the go, but I find myself yearning for the buzz of my classroom. Beyond anything else, my desire comes from the fact that I love my job. I love my students. The desire comes from a place of fulfilling a purpose— ensuring that I am providing my students the best education that I can possibly give them.
I was walking through the mall the other day. As I was about to take the last bite of my cinnamon sugar pretzel, I heard someone excitedly calling my name: “Mr. Tutolo.” It was a former student who I haven’t seen for years. The moment I started talking to him, the feeling of lethargy and monotony immediately dissipated and I lit up with excitement— the type of excitement that only comes from being in the classroom. Surely I have spent time searching through resources and beginning to map out the year, but I have never been much of planner— I’m a doer. I can sift through resource websites, read educational texts or map out curriculum, but there is nothing like the inspiration and energy that stepping foot inside a classroom gives me. From the moment that I walk in the room, the world becomes a different place. I can feel it deep down in my core, I am right where I need to be at that moment. When the school year does come, all that planning and time spent out of the classroom will be in constant flux as I work to meet the specific needs of my students at that moment.
Somewhere out there, someone— a teacher is reading this while sitting on the beach, soaking in the sun, sipping on a cold drink and thinking: “This guy’s crazy, I don’t care if I ever go back to the classroom.” In all honesty, that very well be the case. I am extremely passionate and engaged in the work that I do— it’s necessary and important work. There is nothing wrong with taking a few weeks to spend time and unwind. In fact, it is something that we all need to do. But after the newness of summer break wears off, all I can think to myself is: “I’m ready to get back to work.”